I Desire The Natural Look

James1978
  • #1
HI all -
In looking at some of the amazing tanks here, I'd like to have a more natural looking tank. I see people use driftwood/real rocks, and plants. I'd like to transition to these, but I figure I should ask about the cautions. I'm guessing I can't just pick a cool looking rock out of a rock pile and put it in my tank If I buy/find something, what do I have to do to make it work? Also, do I have to be careful with the fish? If the wood or rock is too jagged, is there a certain kind of fish that like to rub and may hurt itself? Lastly, I'm in the midst of the cycle, do I have to wait to add something like this until after the cycle finishes, or can I do so immediately? Thanks in advance!

James
 
Lollipop0912
  • #2
My advice would be to boil anything you want to put in your tank. I find boiling for 30 minutes. Yes. Definitely sand any rough services. What fish are going in your tank? Some fish with longer fins need extra care. Hope this helps.
 
James1978
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks for the advice. I have 2 cory catfish (1 albino, 1 salt and pepper), and 4 platys. Once the tank cycles I will get more corys and platys, and some others (not determined yet).

James

Also, if I boil something, can I put any rock into the tank? My development has great small rocks that I would love to toss in.
 
Lollipop0912
  • #4
Yes. If you boil the rock, it is safe to put in your tank. I’ve done it for my saltwater and freshwater tanks and haven’t had any problems.
 
MrBryan723
  • #5
Some rocks will change PH, stay away from calcium to avoid ph spikes. Granite based rocks and slate are pretty solid choices. Driftwood, if its homemade and even store bought can lower PH so pay attention to that, also they tend to stain your water tea colored. Plants are always a good call, but do research as to what kind will do well in your substrate and lighting. You can definitely add during your cycle, it won't hurt and will give the beneficial additional places to grow.
 
James1978
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Some rocks will change PH, stay away from calcium to avoid ph spikes. Granite based rocks and slate are pretty solid choices. Driftwood, if its homemade and even store bought can lower PH so pay attention to that, also they tend to stain your water tea colored. Plants are always a good call, but do research as to what kind will do well in your substrate and lighting. You can definitely add during your cycle, it won't hurt and will give the beneficial additional places to grow.

I just found this online: Texas Holy Rock (see picture). Would this be an okay choice for an aquarium? I saw another aquarium with similar rocks.

James
 

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MrBryan723
  • #7
I just found this online: Texas Holy Rock (see picture). Would this be an okay choice for an aquarium? I saw another aquarium with similar rocks.

James
I can't promise anything but it looks like a sandstone based rock with all the water soluble parts already gone so I would say it's safe. When you boil it if it starts to crumble it will probably cause a PH swing. When I collect random rocks I tend to let them set in water for a few days to see if they react before adding them
 
sinned4g63
  • #8
Rocks should solid, don't get anything that falls apart like chalk or shale or it could dissolve and cause issues. I've also read it can be kinda scary boiling rocks if it heats up a pocket of air they can explode.. I usually just soak it in a bucket of hot water out of the tap and scrub thoroughly. Driftwood should always be boiled for at least 30 minutes, if not longer to leech more tannins if that's undesirable to your tank. I wouldn't recommend just grabbing random rocks and wood though, it could get some interesting results. I would only buy what you can find safe in store or online. This can all be added while your tank is cycling, as a matter of fact plants and wood will help during the process.
 
James1978
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Great info - thanks all. The good news about the rock above - the guy said it was in his aquarium, and I've seen it used before - hopefully it will be good I will also look more heavily at plants - just something small to start off.
 
MrBryan723
  • #10
Good deal. Live plants are one of the best things to add to a tank.
 
Pescado_Verde
  • #11
A word of caution on the plants - Look into how to treat them before you add them to your tank. They can and most likely will have snail eggs on them. If you don't want snails, do the research.
 
Tsin21
  • #12
Another way to test rocks is to put some vinegar on it. If it is fizzing then it will definitely raise your ph.
 
PatientStars
  • #13
Great info - thanks all. The good news about the rock above - the guy said it was in his aquarium, and I've seen it used before - hopefully it will be good I will also look more heavily at plants - just something small to start off.
I have Texas Holey Rock in my 55, and I love it. Looks great, and provides lots of hiding places!
 
Guanchy
  • #14
I would not boil any rocks! I have read so many stories of rocks exploding while boiling!
 
Culprit
  • #15
DON't BOIL THE ROCKS!! If they have any moisture inside THEY WILL EXPLODE!! Really finding rocks and driftwood on your own is easy, you don't have to pay the exorbitant prices for "gucci" stone like sieryu or ruyho. Just find some good looking rocks that you like. Make sure they aren't too crumbly or sandstone/limestone. Take them home, and drip some vinegar on them. If it fizzes don't use it. If it doesn't, its fine. Also make sure it doesn't have little metal flakes in it.

Now you've ascertained you have safe rocks, time to clean them. Spray them off with a hose, and scrub them off with a brush if you can. Get any dirt off. Then put them in a 5 gallon bucket, and boil a big pot of water. Pour the water of the rocks slowly, and leave it to cool off for about 10-15 minutes, then dump the water out. Repeat 1-2 more times. Stick them on a towell, and you now have clean, sterilized rocks!

Driftwood is almost even more simple. Most any hardwood will work, beech, oak, ect. Make sure the branch is very dry, not green. Boil it for 30 minutes. Any stick/log will work as long as its not green or rotton. I believe some roots like rhodedenron can be used too, but make sure you do your research. DW will slightly lower ph for a while, which is beneficial to most fish, and swinging ph as long as its not super drastic, e.g. 7-8 ph is not bad, and is pretty normal. As long as your KH is steady, they should be fine. In my high tech tank, where I inject CO2, my pH drops 1.5 ppm. Goes from 7.5 to 6.0. The fish are fine, and I have kept german blue rams and all kinds of tetras in it, and shrimp. The DW will also leak tannins for a few weeks, which are very beneficial to the fish.
 
EbiAqua
  • #16
I just found this online: Texas Holy Rock (see picture). Would this be an okay choice for an aquarium? I saw another aquarium with similar rocks.

James

THR is a calcium-carbonate based rock similar to limestone or reef rock. It will dissolve and alter your pH.
 
Lacey D
  • #17
Rocks should solid, don't get anything that falls apart like chalk or shale or it could dissolve and cause issues. I've also read it can be kinda scary boiling rocks if it heats up a pocket of air they can explode.. I usually just soak it in a bucket of hot water out of the tap and scrub thoroughly. Driftwood should always be boiled for at least 30 minutes, if not longer to leech more tannins if that's undesirable to your tank. I wouldn't recommend just grabbing random rocks and wood though, it could get some interesting results. I would only buy what you can find safe in store or online. This can all be added while your tank is cycling, as a matter of fact plants and wood will help during the process.
^^^^^^THIS. Don't boil random rocks directly--boil water and pour it into a pot holding the rocks. Some rocks explode when boiled!
 
James1978
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Great info! Thanks!!!
 
James1978
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
DON't BOIL THE ROCKS!! If they have any moisture inside THEY WILL EXPLODE!! Really finding rocks and driftwood on your own is easy, you don't have to pay the exorbitant prices for "gucci" stone like sieryu or ruyho. Just find some good looking rocks that you like. Make sure they aren't too crumbly or sandstone/limestone. Take them home, and drip some vinegar on them. If it fizzes don't use it. If it doesn't, its fine. Also make sure it doesn't have little metal flakes in it.

Now you've ascertained you have safe rocks, time to clean them. Spray them off with a hose, and scrub them off with a brush if you can. Get any dirt off. Then put them in a 5 gallon bucket, and boil a big pot of water. Pour the water of the rocks slowly, and leave it to cool off for about 10-15 minutes, then dump the water out. Repeat 1-2 more times. Stick them on a towell, and you now have clean, sterilized rocks!

Driftwood is almost even more simple. Most any hardwood will work, beech, oak, ect. Make sure the branch is very dry, not green. Boil it for 30 minutes. Any stick/log will work as long as its not green or rotton. I believe some roots like rhodedenron can be used too, but make sure you do your research. DW will slightly lower ph for a while, which is beneficial to most fish, and swinging ph as long as its not super drastic, e.g. 7-8 ph is not bad, and is pretty normal. As long as your KH is steady, they should be fine. In my high tech tank, where I inject CO2, my pH drops 1.5 ppm. Goes from 7.5 to 6.0. The fish are fine, and I have kept german blue rams and all kinds of tetras in it, and shrimp. The DW will also leak tannins for a few weeks, which are very beneficial to the fish.

I have a followup question regarding your response...

Should I still boil driftwood if I buy it from a fish store? If I know it's been in a tank, is there a downside to not boiling it? The local Petco has some driftwood in their tanks that is for sale, and a few of the pieces are nice (Nicer than the fish at least).

Let me know what you think! Thanks!

James
 
MrBryan723
  • #20
If it's in another tank I would recommend boiling it, especially from places like petsmart or Petco. Downside being contamination/hitchhikers. Up side is it does contain beneficial bacteria.
 
Terabyte
  • #21
Texas holey rock is the bomb.com I tell you what. I've got a bit in my betta tank and he loves it. You can test a rock by pouring vinegar on it, if it fizzes no go, but if not it should be good.
Edit: I boil the mopanI wood I get from petsmart as it can help the bark come off in spots and it releases the tannins faster.
 
Culprit
  • #22
I would definitely boil anything that was in a petstores tanks. No telling what disases are in there.
 
Lacey D
  • #23
I have a followup question regarding your response...

Should I still boil driftwood if I buy it from a fish store? If I know it's been in a tank, is there a downside to not boiling it? The local Petco has some driftwood in their tanks that is for sale, and a few of the pieces are nice (Nicer than the fish at least).

Let me know what you think! Thanks!

James
The driftwood I bought from my lfs was pre-soaked/decontaminated, and I trust them, so I didn't boil theirs. But I wouldn't trust Petco/Petsmart wood
 
Pescado_Verde
  • #24
I would definitely boil anything that was in a petstores tanks. No telling what disases are in there.
The fish too???
 
Michael447
  • #25
Some rocks will change PH, stay away from calcium to avoid ph spikes. Granite based rocks and slate are pretty solid choices. Driftwood, if its homemade and even store bought can lower PH so pay attention to that, also they tend to stain your water tea colored. Plants are always a good call, but do research as to what kind will do well in your substrate and lighting. You can definitely add during your cycle, it won't hurt and will give the beneficial additional places to grow.

Just adding my tidbit. I have four pieces of mountain stone in my 30 and they are mostly calcium based. I started losing a couple corys about a week ago and everything about my water was fine except for the pH, which had crept up to an abnormal 8-8.2 range. I'm not saying don't get calcium-based rocks, mine look beautiful and I didn' take them out, just added some root wood and an almond leaf, but just know that there are side effects to everything you put in your tank.
 
James1978
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Would rocks like this work in my tank? (After proper cleaning of course
 

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Culprit
  • #27
Yeah those are beautiful rocks! Make sure to vinegar test them, and sterilize if they pass.
 

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